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DKC3 Water World - "Nostalgic Waters"


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I've been experimenting with remixing stuff for quite a while, but I'd never get anything quite satisfying to me. I think I might finally be coming up with something good. I'd like to know what you guys think about it. It's still far from finished, though.

Source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l2IXKsYHGJ0

Remix: http://www.tindeck.com/listen/hvmd


EDIT : FINAL VERSION : Nostalgic Waters v3

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Although this has been mentioned before, you could benefit immensely from replacing a few of the synth sounds with something more organic, but the synth in the beginning is nothing short of brilliant.

You set the mood quite well. It is very (borrowing again) surreal, and has this aura of mystery about it.

You might be able to set more depth to the song by replacing the sustained synths with a filtered or phased pad, or perhaps with strings through a lowpass filter? Just some ideas.

It is somewhat repetitive, but I do believe some organic piano or string sounds would do nicely to change it up. Perhaps you could add a counter melody towards the later half of the song in the form of a violin, harp, or celesta/glockenspiel?

Anyways, I dig it. It's some sweet work man. Keep it up. I'm interested to see how this turns out.

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Thanks a lot for all the feedback and ideas!

I thought about your idea of replacing the synthesized sounds with piano, or more organic stuff. I had the idea of adding those sounds later in the remix, instead of replacing my old sounds, just to make some kind of progression from a "16-bit like" kind of feel towards a more instrumental feel.

I plan on adding strings, horns, and other orchestral instruments.

What do you guys think?

Here's an update : http://www.tindeck.com/listen/bicj

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That progression from 16-bit to...well...organic-bit...might work, but I would suggest you do it sooner rather than later if you do it at all, since these samples are somewhat weak on their own. You might bring in the sustained synths right at 0:39, 4 or 8 bars earlier (I don't know if you're in fast 3/4 time or 6/8 time, as the structure is similar in both meters). After doing that, a breakdown would be in order 4/8 or 8/16 bars later, sometime around the 1:00 mark. This will keep the synth/16-bit sound from getting stale, and also build in new sounds and excitement to keep the listener engaged. This should be the whole shebang though. You should go all synth at this point or all organic.

The breakdown at 2:20 might be a good point to bring some of the synth back and morph it once again into organic instruments. Just a thought. Either way, this part freakin' rocks!

That lead line is just BEGGING for a solid piano sound, or maybe even a marimba/glockenspiel sound. Oh but wait! It happens at 2:43. It sounds like a thinly veiled FL Keys sample, though. It's a welcome new addition, but the sample still needs a lot of attention. You'll have to do some major effect and EQ manipulation to make that sound work (I know from experience) but it can be done. Don't limit yourself to a piano sound if you can't get one you're happy with; you can do so much else to this melody. In addition, the new part added 2:43 is excellent. A solid, distinct variation from the main theme that has already been playing, so it adds more depth to the mix and gives it new life a few minutes in. It even has a little fugue in there, which is rockin'! This is an epic and awesome addition to your mix.

The drum/beat grooves are pretty solid. The bass kick has a lot of reverb on it, which I think lends to the openness of the ocean, if you will. Big, boomy, and a fat low end. The snare has an equal amount of reverb to fill the upper EQ bands. The hi hats and shakers don't seem to have received the same attention.

I think this is shaping up to be a rock solid remix. Work still needs to be done, but you are well on your way making this a great song, and I believe OCR worthy. 8)

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Thanks again for all the great feedback! I'm pleased to know that you like this!

I tweaked a bit that piano sample of mine, as you suggested. I think it's already much better. I also added more reverb to the shakers and hi-hats, and it's much better. Thanks a lot! ;)

As for the rest of your suggestions, I am not disregarding them at all.. but I still can't decide what I like more. I'll keep thinking about it.

Here's the update : http://www.tindeck.com/listen/rrjm

I think this is getting somewhere! :) Thanks a lot, again!

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Okay! New version! There's good things happening, and a few not so good things.

The Bad:

The samples are still pretty weak for the piano and the newly added strings (look for some comments in the Good section though!). I surmise you may be struggling to find an organic, unchanged or manipulated sample that has a strong sound. Admittedly, finding a solid piano sample can be tough if you aren't trying to spend a lot of cash, but it can be done. It's going to be a tough sell on that piano (though it does sound a bit better with the tweaks you have made). The strings don't really sound much like strings. This could be because they are masked in the rest of the soundscape (see below section). However, I believe this too is from the lack of a decent sample. If you can't find a solid sample, a decent pad (Sytrus has many good ones if you're using FL Studio, which I think you are) and there are plenty of free VSTs you can acquire to beef up your sample library. (As a side note, you can peruse the forums here for free samples. One I found myself that was particularly useful was an entire library of orchestral instruments, which had many useful strings and other tidbits hidden in the soundfont libraries.)

I'm not sure if you increased the reverb on the individual tracks or if you have a new compressor on the track as a whole, but when it gets busier, the soundscape starts to sound muddy and squished. This is especially apparent at 2:43 and even more so at 2:55 when the new strings come in. You either need to cut that compression quite a bit, EQ out some overlapping frequencies, cut the reverb volume, remove some instruments from that part of the song, or drop the compression altogether and balance the effects to clean it up some. You're heading in the right direction, but just took an off step.

EDIT: After listening to your previous version, I can tell you really ratcheted up the reverb on the shaker. I think a tad bit more was a good idea, but I think it's too much and might be what is contributing to the muddy sound. Too much reverb has that effect, so you can cut the delay time or cut how much reverb is actually on the shaker. I think a little of both might help.

The end leaves me wanting more. It's rather abrupt (though it sounds like you aren't quite finished with the composition yet, so I don't really hold this again you). Easing the listener out of the song after such a massive buildup would be a good way to end this song.

The Good:

I like to see that you're doing more with that piano line. Like I said in earlier posts, it adds some life to the mix. You might want to sprinkle bits and pieces (even if they are silly 5 note runs) into the piece earlier on so we (the listeners) don't have to wait til 2:43 for a new instrument. The composition of the parts so far are good.

The strings add even more depth to the song, and help give it an 'epic' feel. I think once you find a sample more befitting of your song, this will be superb.

The new parts you've added in the strings and the piano at the end really set the song up for a huge climax. Huge huge huge. Right when the piano starts the rhythmic arpeggiating is when you can lay it on thick. The strings are just drawing out every ounce of music they can and the piano is rushing up and down. This is where you can make it count, even for just 4 or 8 bars, and then let the storm you've worked up die out into the gentle soundscape you slowly pulled your listeners in with.

Well, it's getting late and my brain is mush. I hope this is helpful to you. You are making great progress. Keep it up!

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well TheReverend basically said it all, but I am posting because I agree you are making amazing progress!

But I was thinking you should replace the main theme that was done in synth (after the intro) with the piano. to me I think that would sound cool. you could try that and see what you think I was giving my opinion.

However you do it is awesome though. Keep up the good work :)

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Thanks again for the awesome feedback!

Pretty major update here. I fixed a big part of the mixing issues I had in the previous version, and I give a lot of credit to your advice, TheReverend. :)

I also added lots of content details throughout the song (mostly piano). As for the main theme, I couldn't decide which I liked the most between piano or synth, so I used a bit of both ;)

Next step is to finish the composition. I'll be back with another update soon :)

I hope you enjoy it! I'm loving your feedback very much! :D

Here's the update : http://www.tindeck.com/listen/odne

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Whooooooooaaaaaaaa! There's so much improvement in this update that I just gotta start with The Good first!

The Good:

The addition of the piano adds an incredible amount of atmosphere to the beginning of the mix, and it's just enough to tease us. A little lick here, a little tad there. The harmonies and counter melodies are quite complimentary to the main motif. You get mega kudos for this. Spot on man! :mrgreen:

I can tell you've spent a good bit of time tweaking that piano, and my friend, it has paid off in great dividends. It sounds so much more believable, and it now adds a whole new layer of mystery to the mix, and gives it more of a drive. Excellent.

The issues with the squished sound seem to be resolved. Great job!

This mix gets more and more epic as the days go by!

The Bad:

This section is getting shorter and more nitpicky. This is good, because it shows you have made tremendous progress. Here goes:

You do such a GREAT job at building this up. It's as if you are quietly telling an engrossing story, and the listener has to lean in to hear you tell it. It could be personal preference, but the lead line seems to lose a little bit of that. The melody/sequencing is great, but the sound just isn't quite cutting it for me. The synth backdrop with a synth lead gets a little stale. You have created an atmosphere that lends so so well to all kinds of instruments, so perhaps you might play around with some wilder synths or maybe another organic instrument? I can hear a sitar or other oriental instrument doing well. Perhaps a mandolin sound? Whether you choose a new instrument at all doesn't matter so much as focusing on coloring your lead instrument so that it stands out a little more and says "I'm here, and I'm beautiful. Listen to me!"

There's a tad bit of compression/clipping issues at 3:00 when the strings come in, lasting throughout the ending, though it is most evident at the loudest part/climax. It could be overcompression, or there could be a mixer track that is clipping like crazy or being severely volume limited. If the latter is the case, decreasing the gain would likely fix that problem right up.

This is a tiny, tiny, tiny complaint. I like the boomy sound of the kick, but when it becomes more active, there's a lot of low end noise. (I'm only listening on headphones, so I don't know what it sounds like on a speaker setup) You might consider having a slightly higher low-end cutoff on the reverb, though not but a whole lot, as you don't want to lose the effect of this boomy sound. Mainly, you want to get it out of the 30hz-70hz range. Like I said, small complaint here.

I think the only big compositional issue left is finding a way to end this song. I know I commented on this last time, but I'll expound a little bit on what I mean. You do a fantastic job bringing it to a climax and it rides out for a while, but at the end of your current iteration, it literally just stops. I would guess it's because you actually haven't written the part yet, so if I am correct, here is my advice:

I would slowly fade out the piano, and perhaps make it less busy (but don't change what you already have!) as you head towards the end of the song. I'd do the same for the bass and supporting pads. You can do a lot to bring the song down by using the strings. They built up to an epic high, but now you can slowly take those block chords and moving parts from 3, 4, or 5 different notes to just 1 or 2 with some slight movement. Also, I would LOVE to hear this song end with the synth you came in with. Have it die almost completely out, and then "duh do do do doo!", a little space, then once more, and die out to silence.

Those are my only critiques at this time. You are making some solid, definite progress on this mix, and quickly. I've listened to this every day since I first found it on here, and every update you have made has only gotten better and better. I look forward to seeing where you are going to take this mix next, because every time I listen, I am pleasantly surprised. Kudos.

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  • 1 month later...

Thanks again for the wonderful feedback!

I've been extremely busy during the last weeks, so I had to put this aside for a little while. I should be able to come up with an update somewhere next week.

Sorry for the slow response, and thanks for the support! :)

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Oh man, oh man, OH MAN! There's so much more cool stuff happening in this iteration. I'm still feeling the chills. Anyways, here's your Reverend's canonical and sanctified critique:

The Good:

It's just flat grooving all the way through the new section you wrote at 3:34. This new key change is incredibly refreshing, and a fantastic addition!

I like the brief break from the synths. You good a good job at showcasing the strings and piano here, and it is sounding great. And man, oh MAN, that wailing synth you bring in is just perfect. I can practically hear someone crying this out into a microphone. It's so lush with emotion and color. You set the mood here perfectly, and the creative license you have taken here is monumentally fantastic.

You do a great job giving it that extra oomph and life, and now I think you're to a point where you can write up an ending. Good work man.

The Bad:

There's still some overcompression/pumping at 3:06 on until the new section at 3:34 , and I'm willing to bet it's because that boomy kick drum is fighting all the other instruments for room in the master audio channel. This section still needs some attention to the production. The content and arrangement are great (as previously stated), but you gotta get rid of that pumping. If you're side-chaining the kick, make it not so prevalent. If it's just too much stuff crammed into the sound channel, you'll have to balance that out, or at least EQ the parts with the highest signal down a little bit. It could also be as I suggested earlier in this threat; the low end cutoff of the reverb might be doing it. I'm not sure without actually seeing the raw playback in your DAW.

In reference to the above critique, if you're having issues locating where and/or what is causing the pumping/compression, you can watch the master waveform from 3:00 to 3:45 and see if it flattens out. If/when it does, that's a good indicator that the waveform has too much signal sent to it, and it is being compressed (if you have a compressor on it) or volume limited.

It sounds like the very first note at 3:34 following the run up in the piano is out of the key. You quickly remedy this immediately afterwards. I don't know if this was intentional or not, but you ought to look at it.

Man, you got me goin' with that new stuff all the way until 5:00, but then it just stops....I know it's because you're not finished, but I was super bummed to hear it just end! You already know this, but you'll need an appropriate ending. :wink:

Other Thoughts:

Holy flaming litterboxes, Batman! 8-) This mix went from awesome to epic for me. The new additions are musical genius. This has earned "embedded" status in my library, even if you quit now (and you had better not!). Excellent work, friend. I am glad to hear you are still working on this mix. It has unbelievable potential, and you are beginning to fulfill that.

With the holiday season over, I expect a new version on my desk at 8:00 am Monday with a fully completed TPS report as the cover page.

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  • 5 weeks later...

Dark. Aside from the hihat I can't hear much in the highs, everything seems... well, dark. There's a compression problem that gets pretty noticeable towards the end, probably too loud lows in the bass drum or lows from tracks that don't need lows (easy solution: eq it down/away).

Sounds a bit empty overall, but that's not necessarily a bad thing for a track like this. Besides, it could just be the simple synths screwing with my ears. Not sure using simple synths as pads is a smart move, it doesn't sound right to me, but can't suggest a solution without risking you compromising your idea for the track's sound.

Arrangement, if a little repetitive, is pretty interesting, with lots of stuff changing. The lead ostinato might be a bit too prominent, at least for my tastes.

Overall, nice work. :D

btw, you've got 7 updates to the track. The more you work on your ears, the less you have to depend on other ppl's ears. If there's something that bothers you with the track, it'll probably bother you more if you leave it there. Compare this to some well-mixed tracks and check if something stands out.

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Thanks a lot for the feedback Rozovian :)

All right, I did the best I could to make this sound as clear as possible without compromising the atmosphere I'm willing to build with this track.

As for the simple synths, it's my basic idea for this remix: almost exclusively chiptune-inspired synths (which is partially why I chose this title for the remix).

btw, you've got 7 updates to the track. The more you work on your ears, the less you have to depend on other ppl's ears. If there's something that bothers you with the track, it'll probably bother you more if you leave it there. Compare this to some well-mixed tracks and check if something stands out.

As this is my first serious work, I thought it might have been a good idea to get as much technical advice as possible. I may be wrong though! ;) but I'm very satisfied.

So here's the track (for Mod Review): Nostalgic Waters

And here's the source again: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l2IXKsYHGJ0

Thanks a lot, once more! :)

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Rozo's right about it sounding 'dark', that's a good word for it actually. considering all the square and pulsewaves in here, i'm not getting any scratchy-ear high frequencies. I want more highs! :P

the arrangement is good, always evolving, good subtle additions and changes as it goes. the main motif does get a bit repetitive though. the heavier sections are kinda muddy too, there's just so much going on with your chiptune leads and harmonies, piano, bass, strings, etc etc. check out your EQ's on every instrument and cut any frequencies you don't need.

the drums kinda weak, could use more punch and variation in the rhythms. a little drowned in reverb and delay too. i know its a stylistic thing here, especially with the kick- it might not be so much of an issue if you can clean up the rest of the soundscape a bit.

overall, a little rough production-wise, but the arrangement is pretty promising. keep it up! :D

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Just thought I'd chime in real quickly here; halc covered a lot of this but because of my proximity to the source I thought I'd offer some feedback too.

The first few minutes of the mix are not very interesting to me, as a listener :\ The soundfield is just too sparse to really produce a dominant mood. At least throw in some ambient pads to fill those sections out. Once the strings come in, this gets a lot more enjoyable, but like halc said, there's muddiness abound. EQ cuts to help clear out some of the mud are definitely called for here.

The chords and the writing, especially when the strings come in, are very dark and moody. You did a great job with that, and it's those sections where it all clicks together that make me think this song has quite a bit of potential to it. But the minimalist approach isn't really working IMO. Take that for what it's worth :-)

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